686. Christian from Canguro English

A conversation with YouTube English teacher Christian Saunders from Canguro English about the realities of learning and teaching English, motivation and goal-setting in language learning, Paul McCartney recording an album in his kitchen and plenty more. Video version also available on YouTube.

Audio Version (with extra content)

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Video Version (just the conversation)

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Introduction Transcript

Hello listeners,

In this episode you can hear me having a conversation with Christian from Canguro English. 

Do you know about Canguro English? Some of you will already be aware of it. 

Canguro English is a YouTube channel, it’s an Instagram account, it’s a Facebook page, it’s a Twitter account and it’s also an audio podcast, and it’s all the work of Christian Saunders, an English teacher who originally comes from Australia but now lives and works in Spain. 

By the way, the “Canguro” part is spelled c a n g u r o – and it’s spelled like that because it is pronounced exactly the same as the word kangaroo when pronounced in Christian’s Aussie accent, the kangaroo of course being one of the symbols of Australia (Do you know what a kangaroo is? It’s that animal that has a long tail, large hind legs and a pouch on its belly. They jump around the Australian outback and in fact can only be found in Australia). Say kangaroo in an Aussie accent and it sounds like it should be spelled c a n g u r o.

I’ve been aware of Christian and his work for a few years now as his videos often pop up in my suggested videos section on YouTube. Christian teaches English in his videos like many other YouTube English teachers, but over the last few years he has focused on delivering messages about changing the way we learn and teach languages, the importance of taking responsibility for your own language learning, and generally exploring the psychology and philosophy of learning other languages, especially English.

When I see Christian’s videos, I’m always struck by how passionate he is about his work, how he manages to communicate quite complex ideas using simple language in a clear and engaging manner, his use of metaphors and visual demonstrations and a generally thoughtful and generous approach to helping people not only learn English, but to think about how they approach the learning of English.

Then recently Christian did an event on social media in order to raise money for educational charity. Some of you might have seen it. The video involved him reading every single word from a copy of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, live on YouTube, which is actually much harder than it sounds. 

He sat in front of the camera with the dictionary in front of him and proceeded to read each word one by one, and he continued doing it for 18 solid hours. You can find the video on YouTube.

I watched some of it and it was impressive – not just because it was for a good cause but because it seemed so tough! 

After 10 hours or something he seemed to be totally exhausted! His eyes were hurting, his face was hurting, his brain was hurting! He must have been going mad sitting in front of that huge tome with so many thousands of words ahead of him, and the whole time there were people in the comment section encouraging him, cheering him on and donating money to the educational charity he was promoting – the aim being to raise $50,000 to go towards the building of a school for poor children. 

After watching Christian for a whileI went to bed, and when I woke up early the next morning, he was still going!

I decided there and then that it was about time I talked to him on my podcast, just because I wanted to know what it was like for him, to let him explain why he was doing it, and also to get stuck into a wider conversation about lots of other things, and that’s what you’re going to hear. I sort of had a feeling that we’d get on quite well and that we’d have plenty to talk about, and I wasn’t wrong as you’ll hear in our chat.

This was a long conversation but it went by really quickly and it was really enjoyable to actually talk to Christian properly after having seen his thought provoking videos on YouTube. 

Our conversation covers things like, catching COVID-19, the charity dictionary-reading marathon, Christian’s story of moving to Spain and renovating an old barn into a home for him and his family, what it’s like being an English teacher in classrooms and also a content creator for learners of English online, motivation in language learning, my personal situation learning French, Christian’s speaking style, how Barack Obama speaks, Paul McCartney recording an album in his kitchen and loads of other things too. 

I’m very happy that I spoke to Christian because the conversation you’re about to hear does contain some really important principles about language learning – including many big conclusions that both Christian and I have reached after being involved in language teaching and learning for many years. Listen carefully – there is definitely some good wisdom to be picked up from this (I hope so anyway) and at the very least, it’s nice to just get to know Christian in a bit more detail.

You should know that there is a YouTube video version of this conversation in which you can see both Christian and me talking to each other, so head over to my YouTube channel “Luke’s English Podcast” on YouTube to find it, and don’t forget to like and subscribe when you do that (that’s right “smash that like button” guys). You will also find the YouTube video of this conversation embedded on the page for this episode on my website.

That’s it for my introduction. I’ll talk to you again briefly at the end of this episode. But now I will let you get stuck into this conversation with Christian from Canguro English, and here we go.

Ending Transcript

So, that was Christian from Canguro English. Come on, that was good wasn’t it? I hope you agree that there were plenty of solid bits of insight about language learning there, from two teachers who’ve been working for years to actually help people learn English. 

Thank you again to Christian for talking to us and for giving his sincere and thoughtful comments on all the stuff that I asked him about.

Remember, there is a video version of this episode and you’ll find it on YouTube – Luke’s English Podcast is the channel name. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, ok guys. Smash that like button, etc. Seriously though, why not watch the video now that you’ve heard the audio. It could be a good way to reinforce what you’ve heard and there’s a good chance you’ll understand a lot more the second time round. My episodes are often long and have a lot in them, so listening or watching more than once is definitely worthwhile, if you can find the time to do it.

Also, check out Canguro English on YouTube. Have a look at his dictionary challenge if you want to see a man suffering! Otherwise, have a look at the various videos he has made about the psychology of learning English and more.

A quick note about WISBOLEP – I am working on the next part of that, so stay tuned and watch this space.

Also, I’m working on premium content which should be coming soon, but otherwise there’s a large library of episodes there for you to work with, including pronunciation drills which I think might be some of the most valuable of the premium episodes. Teacherluke.co.uk/premiuminfo 

Finally, I feel inspired to sing a song with my guitar. 

The tune I’m going to do is called Wonderful World – not the Louis Armstrong one, although that is lovely. This is the one by Sam Cooke and it is dedicated to my lovely wife who has more patience than I gave her credit for in this episode :)

You’ll find the chords and lyrics on the page for this episode if you’d like to sing along or learn it for yourself.

Wonderful World by Sam Cooke (Lyrics and guitar chords)